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Inside Washington

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Massachusetts 8, At&t 5, Paul Volcker 4, Washington 4, Scott Brown 3, America 3, Brown 3, American 2, Ted Kennedy 2, Gordon Peterson 2, T. Rowe 2, Nina 2, Maryland 2, Evan 2, Gotcha 1, Barney 1, Confidce 1, Martha Coakley 1, Geithner Paul Volcker 1, Timothy Geithner 1,
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  ABC    Inside Washington    News/Business. Roundtable discussion features  
   nationally recognized journalists. (CC) (Stereo)  

    January 24, 2010
    9:00 - 9:30am EST  

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♪ >> i am scott brown. i am from ransom, and i drive a truck. >> this week on "inside washington," a political knockout, a republican takes ted kennedy's senate seat. >> people do not what the trillion dollar health care plan. >> what happens to health care reform now? >> this bill is dead. >> the supreme court rpens the money fawcett in politics. corporate and union but backed big time. the president calls for big reform now. >> this is a fight i am ready to have. >> what does sco brown's victory mean for the election year ahead? >> interesting anniversary present for you guys from the voters. >> we would have preferred a cake.
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>> this is a stunning, and for democrats, an ominous development. ♪ >> hello. i am is sitting in for gordon peterson today. republicans got brown drove a pickup truck foiled by voter anchor anxiety stridden to washington. he beat democrat martha coakley handily and the special election for ted kennedy's massachusetts senate seat. the 24 hours of the victor, the health care reform bill in its current form was dying. and another blockbuster story broke thursday. the supreme court vote to strike down parts of the mccain- feingold campaign law. corporate and union money will be neck and the game big-time this election year. we will to do that in a minute. we want to start with scott brown, a senator-elect. >> what i have heard again and
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again on the campaign trail is that our political leaders have grown aloof, and the people are impatient with the sense uncomfortable with making back room deals, and we can do better. >> we were so busy just getting stuff done and in dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us. but i think we lost some of that sense of, you know, speaking directly to the american people about what their core values are. >> the republican comes out of nowhere to win ted kennedy's seat, taking down health care in the process. it is clearly cause for worry for the democrats. evan, the president admits he lost touch with the voters but what is the mesge? >> be more honest. he tried to finesse this. regular voters can figure out if you extend health care to 40 million people, you have to pay for is some way. they will not believe it if you
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say nothing will change in this will be ok, no problem for you. >> nina, your own sense? >> well, i would not panic if i were a democrat, but i would be extremely worried at this time. and i am not quite sure what the prescription is except to do a quick pivot. and what we really know people are terribly upset about are the abuses of wall street. we saw the president this week pivot to that. he started doing this earlier, but that is politically where it is smart for him to spend his time. >> charles, you wrote about it in your column. can the democrats really ignore this jolt? >> they might be of some of them want to. i think the message was clear, it is not technique. it is not the message. it is not tactics, and it is not the problem is the center right of the country and obama attempted to govern from the
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left. it cannot be done. it could be done for a short while, but not even a year. democrats do not understand that at present -- and pretend it was the message of the way it was handled or does the economy or the banks, they will miss the story. >> colby, is that what it was, and ideological defeat for democrats and an ideological victory for republicans? >> i will not put it that way. there was no big and switch on the part of obama. he proposed that as president for the first year, the major issues. what seemed to have said is to get too much into the weeds in washington. he got very much involved in a partisan way with people who knewhe legislative process and watch -- lost touch inside of or was going on in the country. the health-care issue is important. the idea of extending health care to 50 million people that do not have it, but when you try to do something like that, you're tling other people that
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you'll have to pay for somebody else's health care. they did not get that across very well to people. >> because they tried to finesse it. he kept saying nothing will change for you. if you like your health care, that is ok, bute're still going to give up their million or 40 million people health care. voters instinctively know that is not true. that is why we had the tea parties and what you had this popular vote, because he was fundamentally dishonest. >> if we had a 5% unemployment, he probably would have gone the plan through. but you cannot refocus people's attention on an as operational role for society. it is very difficult to do that. when people are hurting so much in an immediate sense. businesses are going down the tubes on a daily basis and small businesses. you can look at any mall. they are gone now. people in every level of life are struggling to even have as a
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job or they're working part- time. kids coming out of school cannot find jobs. this is a very dire situation. i cannot say he has ignored it, but he has not done things in the way he probably should have. >> on health care, i think it could be argued that the biggest beneficiary was really the insurance companies in the sense if you had universal mandates and there were subsidies to people who cannot afford it. now the democrats, some people say, saved the health care bill and they should just a pre- existing conditions. can you do that? >> i do not think you can do it piecemeal thing. because it is so interconnected. if you do no pre-existing conditions, you being grabbed the insurance companies or you have to raise premiums. it means all help the people will not have health insurance and will wait until they get sick and then get health insurance, as they do not have any revenue.
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it is so interconnected it cannot be done. health care is dead. there is no way can be revived. if the administration wants to redo its with the republicans, it will have to include tort reform, but it will take weeks and weeks and weeks. i am not sure that democrats want health care again and again in the public eye after spending a year in getting massacre on it in massachusetts. >> but colby, to come out of this with nothing on health care, when the be the ultimate defeat of democrats? >> think you have to come out of here with something. but it will not be like what was proposed. charles is right. they cannot spend a lot of time on this issue. it was not just massachusetts. you take the state of maryland. a poll came out showing that maryland voters, 54% say the economy is the most important. health care, 11%. that is all.
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you'll find that probably reflected across the country. so yes, do something about health care, but do not invest all the time in it because it is the economy, the economy, the economy. >> but that is a fundamental myth. jobs, jobs, jobs. they did a huge stimulus package, did pretty much with the federal government can do about jobs, which is put a lot of money in the economy for jobs. they did that. they do not really have many of thtools. >> yes, they do, because people are furious about the banks. the president has a proposal about that. >> but that will not clear jobs. >> it does not matter. it appeals to a populace surge. >> let's talk about how president obama was to get tougher on the big ban
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thanks for coming back out. sure. i think you might have hooked it up wrong, though. yea, we're getting way too many channels. no, no. that's -- that's standard. fios also comes with 11,000 free movies and shows on demand per month. ah, standard. gotcha. a certain somebody says "thank you". tell him "he's welcome", but it's still standard. he's happy to be back with his friends. is he? [ male announcer ] hundreds of channels, thousands of movies, and two times more very satisfied customers than cox. this is beyond cable. this is fios. call the verizon center for customers with disabilities at 800-974-6006 tty/v. >> never again will the american taxpayer be held hostage by a bank that is too big to fail. now limits on the risks major
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financial firms can take are central to the reforms i have proposed. >> the president is proposing tough new rules to banks that take reckless risks. he wants to ban bay expects of federally insured deposits from investing in hedge funds and other risky investments. bank shares took a dive on the the news. colby, you are the banker. what is the practical impact? >> the practical impact will be important to the stability of the financial system. i think it is important that the president takes those steps that have been recommended by somebody like paul volcker, something he resisted doing because timothy geithner did not want to do it. i have long advocated the world between investment banks and commercial banks, going back to something like blasting goal. they not gone all the way yet, but it is a step in the right direction. what is not probably going to fly well as some of the things, the more populous things he wants to do to the banks like
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placing a levy on taxing their earnings to take back some of the money given to them. that kind of vigor is contrived to respond to a voter banks. i do not think that will get this as far as it wants to go. he spent too much time working with the banks of the last year. now he is going to turn on them because of election results? that will not fly. >> do you agree? >> in principle, i agree. you really have to have a role between investment banks and one that accept deposits as we have had for half a century. but i think the president is trying to play the populace here. this is the beginning of the pivot. he got a message from massachusetts. people are angry. it thinks it is all about wall street. a, a guy arugula is not exactly a populist and a guy who drives a truck in massachusetts did not
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quite have it. i am not sure it will work. and i am not sure that he has a program on the banks that is going to have a populist appeal. >> evan, as our resident populace, the feel that way? >> no. it is not. it is pure politics and will play is politics. on substance, i like it. whatever paul volcker is for, i am apprendi much for. but i think the reason he won in that direction was 100% politics. >> this is been in the making for a little while, before the massachusetts results. but having said that, i think with the bankers, the market took a dive. what they have to understand is they made this mess. and people are outraged. this is like a societal pressure cooker. if you do not let there be some steam come off of it, even though it is going to burn the the banks, could be very
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damaging to the financial institutions in the long run. it could be far worse. if populous two-party range about the bank's governors, it would be far worse than anything in terms of regulation that barack obama has proposed this week. >> do democrats misunderstanding of the populism is about? imagine it is all about wall street. it is about big government and administration and covers less -- >> oh, come on. it is about wall street. >> it is not about wall street. it is about obama. that is how it started. >> but when you're talking about populous -- >> he would not have at massachusetts on your hands if you not ignore the message. >> 3 out of four voters believe that the government policies have helped wall street rather than them. only 20% feel they have been
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helped by the government's economic policies. is this an accurate reading? >> no, i think it is an inaccurate reading of the people who say that. if we had not done something about the problems on wall street with the financial system, we would have an awful of it and the people who are most concerned. they had to do something. everybody from barney frank to the president to people on the right agree that something had to be done about it and after crisis. the problem is, it is not just the communication question. adopted them adequately explain the connection. now they turn around and subject hist -- and suggests that wall street is the big bad actor in goddess into these problems. it does not sell over the long haul. >> quickly, you have alluded to the to the geithner/paul volcker attention. indeed the busiest -- this means
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the emergence of paul volcker? >> no, but the body language is plain to see. all of the setting, paul volcker was cast doubt. to the gainers of to the site. >> the president offered him secretary of the treasury, and he thought he was too old. i wonder if that might eventually come to pass nonetheless. >> ok, corporate union money is
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is stuck in a 2002 law that prohibited corporations and unions from paying for campaign ads in the days leading up to an election. nina, in this election year, more money, more ads. breakdown of the decision. >> cents 1907 there has been an understanding in the law that says you cannot use corporate spending and federal elections. it has been upheld by the supreme court. it was extended in 1947. toss it all out the window. this sort of unleashes unlimited corporate union, special interest money in elections. people who wanted this decision say that is our right under the constitution. that is what political speech is, and many is speech. people who oppose this decision say this will totally corrupt our government. >> who is right? >> they're both right. it is money.
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it is a valid first amendment argument. but it just a time when democracy is not looking too good, look at the last year as the government and federal government or nothing gets done. and then give the special interests a giant cannon to a megohm -- to name a congressman to get whatever done and what, and it is appalling. >> appalling? >> no, look, we've just seen a year in which the democrats have spent weeks and weeks negotiating behind the closed doors with doctors, hospitals, the unions all getting special deals. drug companies and more. money exists in politics. you cannot drive it out. this contrived system of controls. in the end, it makes its way. money will find its level. you then the total amount of expenditures, you end up with a senate full of tycoons. you ban individual limits, you
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get bunglers, the new kingpins in politics. there's always a way around and always loopholes. i would rather have it all out in the open and require disclosure and disclaimers. have a list on the internet of people who contribute. and have free speech and limited. >> there is a limit. i happen to agree. i expected this to happen. i said and not political speech would be protected. but let's not overestimate the impact of money as well. money will have an influence. i worked in the campaign of senator in the watergate era, a republican in a heavily democratic state, who decided to declare he would only accept contributions of to $100 and accept no money that would tax anyone. he won by a landslide.
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he was an incumbent. nonetheless, you have to still practice retail politics. the corporations that will get this money and also have to be sensitive. they are selling products as well. consumers can respond. they will get pushed back as well. >> is it really no cause for alarm? >> the there's plenty of cause for alarm. the largest cause for alarm is that there'll be a few people set as an example. so the first corporation will say that this congressman crossed me, and i will send $5 million to defeat you. and then when that effort succeeds, that sends a terrifying message to everybody else. >> does it send panic to the ranks that lobbyists -- >> this is not rocket science. congressmen are not known for
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this anyway. a few corporations the power to say we're going to bury you in money, isn't it obvious that this is a corrupting factor? >> the most important all eminences the first. the most important of the rights of the first is speech. the most upon and speeches political speech. you do not want the governing class is regulating political speech, which is exactly what happened. abolish it all, disclosure and honesty and sunshine. >> the person with the largest amount of money will win. you still have to be somebody though. you still have to have a program and have to make a case for yourself. you can do it even if you do not have the most money. >> after big week for have the most money. >> after big week for a lecture on physics in california ...is watched in milwaukee. an american soldier overseas ...keeps up with his classes back home. a father helps his daughter find the name of saturn's largest moon. education's about opportunity and broadband's become the great equalizer.
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innovation or investment. dreams, and jobs, and the future are at stake. at at&t, the future, are at stake. at at&t, the future, has always been our business. at&t... your world... delivered. >> what happened is that independents, the very people that put together the winning coalition for barack obama and democrats and the them in power, are fleeing in droves. >> that is senator john cornyn.
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10 months is a lifetime in politics. after what happened in massachusetts, we want to look ahead to 2010. is scott brown's formula, his victo, a roa map for republicans in 2010? >> well, if that includes having a bad opponent -- [laughter] >> but no. anybody at the top endof voter anger has a better chance. it is not that complicated. it is what brown did. you're in a populist campaign and tap into the underlying anger and hope your opponent is asleep. >> in the modern era, especially with high and employment and other financial problems, in the modern era of instant communication, voter anger slayings much more quickly. it used to be that control of congress did not change very often. it took a long time for that kind of thing to build. now it can build and diffuse in
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a matter of months. at the moment, i think it is predictable that the democrats are in real peril, but that could change. >> you guys are whistling in the dark. you did was an anchor the somehow this man channel. he was extremely specific. and let me, i kill obama camp. elect me, terrorists will not the lawyers. elect me, i will cut taxes and not raise them. it was extremely specific and extremely programmatic. if you want to think he somehow tapped into populism, you'll get started in november. >> does this present a road map? i do not know. probably not. the reason being, things can change. if the economy changes over the course of this year, gets stronger, something happens with unemployment, whether the white house has anything to do with iraq, it will approve the conduct of members running.
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here's what to be concerned about. if the democrats take it in the neck in november, now barack obama will probably face a challenge in the democratic primary from the left. >> wow, that is the last word. gordon peterson will be back next week. thank you for watching. captioned by the
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>> ♪ >> hello, and welcome to "clean skies sunday," a weekly half-hour look at energy issues facing washington and america. i'm susan mcginnis. this week, on "clean skies sunday," congress takes a look at the proposed marriage of an oil giant and a natural gas producer. what does an exxon mobil-xto teamup mean for thcountry's energy future? it's been more than a month since world climate talks ended with the copenhagen accord and lots of finger pointing. where do things stand now? we talk to an expert. and, an electrifying week in de